(BPT) - The telltale signs are all there. Maybe it's football season, the changing color of the trees right outside your door, or the crisp morning air that's suddenly taken on a chill. Yes, there's no denying it, fall is here and winter is quickly following behind.

No matter where you live in the country, the colder months are synonymous with the indoor months. Your home becomes your refuge as well as your sanctuary. But as you prepare for the cold yourself, you may not realize your home needs some preparation as well. Now's the perfect opportunity to begin those projects before fall gives way entirely to winter.

Below are five DIY projects you can tackle in a single Saturday with minimal expense and experience needed, each of which will make the upcoming seasons cozier for you and your family.

* Winterize your AC/water lines. Your air conditioner and your outdoor faucets are mainstays all summer, but as cooler temperatures set in, it's time to retire them for the year. Start by draining your hoses and air conditioner pipes to remove excess water. Next, be sure all exterior water faucets are tightly sealed and your AC system is turned off - if your unit has such a switch.

* Seal up those hidden gaps and cracks. Small cracks along the borders of your windows or doors are easy to go unnoticed, but you'll feel their presence on your monthly energy bills. Don't let warm air escape your home through these openings. Seal them by applying GREAT STUFF(TM) Window & Door Insulating Foam Sealant. These easy-to-use foam sealants can tackle any small opening in your windows or doors to help keep your home energy efficient and prevent those costly air leaks.

* Keep your furnace and its surrounding area clean. Changing your furnace filter regularly (cleaning schedule dependent on your type of furnace) keeps your furnace running efficiently and protects your home's air quality. However, it's also one of the most easily forgotten chores. To avoid missing this task, set a date you'll remember - such as the first of the month - and follow it rigidly. In addition, be sure the area around your furnace is clear of clutter so you don't accidentally create a potential fire hazard.

* Block out unwanted guests. We're not talking about your in-laws here. As temperatures drop, the warmth of your home becomes even more appealing for unwanted pests. Use GREAT STUFF(TM) Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealant to seal the areas around bathroom plumbing and any outdoor openings that pests may use to enter your home.

* Insulate your pipes. If you live in a part of the country where your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter, insulating them can protect against pipe rupture. Wrap exterior pipes in a versatile, moisture-resistant, high-compressive foam to ward against pipe freezing and ensure your pipes come into spring in the same shape you left them in the fall.

Our homes are only growing increasingly vulnerable with the changing of the seasons. So, what are you waiting for? Tackling any of these projects will have a dramatic effect on your home's cold weather preparedness - and the energy bill savings will be great on your wallet, too.